New Hampshire Senate passes bill to free slaves from 1700s

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March 15, 2013

New Hampshire

By Tyler King

CONCORD, New Hampshire: The New Hampshire Senate on March 14 voted unanimously to pass a bill that would posthumously free 20 slaves who, on November 12, 1779, sent a petition to New Hampshire's General Assembly. The slaves from Portsmouth asked lawmakers to free them and make sure "that the Name of Slave may not more be heard in a Land gloriously contending for the Sweets of Freedom." Six of the 20 slaves were freed by their owners after the petition was submitted, leaving 14 slaves yet to be given their freedom.[1][2]

Senator Martha Fuller Clark (D), who introduced the bill said, "It’s more to really honor the request of those petitioners, and not . . . to leave it unresolved." She continued, "It’s a gesture of goodwill that we should all be proud to support in the 21st century."[1] She said the bill is especially timely in that it was filed this year, 150 years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation.[1][2]

The bill now moves to the House, where Fuller Clark expects the bill to have no problem passing.

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